Tara Polar Station, a scientific expedition in the Arctic

  • Tara ocean
Project funding

L’océan Arctique est un environnement éloigné et extrême, que nous connaissons mal. On ignore comment les organismes y vivant font face à l’extrême saisonnalité de la lumière, de la température, de la glace de mer, et comment ils survivent pendant la longue nuit polaire, qui dure pendant près de la moitié de l’année. Au cours des dernières décennies, cet écosystème unique a été de plus en plus menacé par le réchauffement climatique et par la pollution produite par les êtres humains. La rapidité des changements et le fait que ce qui se passe en Arctique impacte toute la planète en fait une réelle sentinelle.


The drifting polar scientific base Tara Polar designed by the architect Olivier Petit and the Tara Ocean Foundation will embark, on multiple successive drifts, scientists from around the world until 2045.

Climatologists, biologists, physicists, glaciologists, oceanographers, artists, doctors, journalists and sailors will join forces and live together at the heart of the Tara Polar Station to carry out observations and experiments on site, under temperatures ranging from -20° to -45° in the middle of the polar night in winter.

The  mission objective of the Tara Ocean Foundation’s is to document and understand the dynamics of these transformations, to objectify the scientific data and to take stock of the richness of the local biodiversity. The demands and adversity of this extreme and dynamic environment have never allowed for long-term, year-round research in the heart of the Pole’s ice pack.

  • Better understand the impact of climate change in the Arctic and on the rest of the planet
    Improve knowledge of the Earth’s biodiversity by exploring regions not accessible today
  • Reveal the unique adaptations that have evolved to enable life in this extreme environment.
  • Analyse the consequences of melting sea ice and pollution on these unique and fragile ecosystems
  • Observe Arctic fish stocks and the impact of the arrival of more temperate species
  • Discover new molecules/species/processes with potential new applications



The Tara Ocean Foundation, the first foundation in France to be recognised as promoting the public interest and devoted to the ocean, is developing an innovative and unprecedented open science which should enable prediction and better planning for the impact of climate change.
It uses this very high level scientific expertise to raise awareness and educate young people, to mobilise political decision makers and enable developing countries to access this new knowledge.
The schooner Tara is a floating laboratory that has already covered more than 450,000 kilometres since 2003, stopping off in more than 60 countries on 12 expeditions carried out in collaboration with the best international laboratories and organisations (CNRS, CEA, EMBL, PSL, MIT, NASA, etc.).
Their partner laboratories have produced more than 200 publications in renowned international scientific journals.